Experience the Delta! Festivals and events are perfect roadtrip destinations. For such a small-town region, the Mississippi Delta is packed with big events, big names, and big heart.
There are so many great festivals here, we're curating a calendar of local favorites.
Some are the best blues festivals in the world, and others are new or hidden gems. They're all a great way to experience music, arts, and literary events -- as well beer, barbeque, tamales, classic cars, gardening, shopping, and even ghost hunting -- in scenic, historic, and just plain cool places.
October Festivals & Events
*Locals will point out Oxford, Natchez, Memphis, and Jackson are NOT technically the Delta! (We'll leave y'all to fight over those technical definitions, and whether the "lobby of the Peabody hotel" really counts.)
Delta folks love visiting our neighbors -- and everyone loves a weekend roadtrip. So this is an unofficial Mississippi Delta calendar that includes a few highlights nearby.
Click on each festival for links to lineups, directions, and details:
September 30 - October 1: Mules & Blues Festival (Marks, MS)
In a town made famous by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Mule Train, this year's festival features a groundbreaking for the R&B Hall of Fame; 5k run/walk; wagon mule rides; and showcase of historical treasures, artistic talents and our Southern-style culinary skills.
October 1: Bad Apple Blues Fest (Clarksdale, MS)
One of the Delta's newest blues festivals, this gem founded by Sean "Bad" Apple is pure, classic blues in a classic juke joint. This year it'll be held in the sunshine of Bad Apple Blues Club's backyard, on historic Issaquena Street in downtown Clarksdale.
October 1: Highway 61 Blues Festival (Leland, MS)
A down home free festival, this year's lineup features classic Mississippi bluesmen in downtown Leland. In its 21st year, Highway 61 is keeping Delta blues traditions alive.
Two great events in one day: shop the Old Court House Museum flea market, then head to Key City Brewing Co. for the 5th annual Oktoberfest! Great beer, fancy pizza, good people: a perfect way to start the month in downtown Vicksburg.
October 5-8: King Biscuit Blues Festival (Helena, AR)
One of the biggest, oldest , and most famous blues festivals in the world! Named for the legendary "King Biscuit Time" radio show, blues pilgrims travel to downtown Helena, Arkansas for "The Biscuit." It's Helena's big annual event, and a lifetime bucket list fest for blues lovers.
October 6-8: Oxford Blues Festival (Oxford, MS)
Held in the home of "Ole Miss," this is one of the best weekends for blues fans to experience one of Mississippi's finest college towns. It's held 90mins from Helena, so some fans check schedules carefully and make both blues fests in one weekend.
October 6-8: Octoberfest (Cleveland, MS)
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, this is the biggest festival in Bolivar County. This year features the Mississippi Delta State Barbecue Championship, arts and crafts, children’s activities, and live entertainment on Saturday evening.
October 7-8: Blues & Soul Super Bowl (Natchez, MS)
This new blues & soul festival from Ardenland is bringing some big names to Natchez. Come eat, drink and dance on the bluffs with them.
October 9: Clarksdale's Super Blues Sunday (Clarksdale, MS)
Join the longtime tradition of King Biscuit fans carrying on their after-party across the river in Clarksdale. Cat Head's Mini Blues Fest starts the day, and is now joined across the alley by a mini-fest at the Bluesberry Cafe. Check the full day's schedule at Cat Head's calendar.
October 9: Pinetop Perkins Homecoming (Clarksdale, MS)
A fabulous festival started when Pinetop Perkins was still alive and had a "homecoming" at Hopson the day after King Biscuit. It's run by the Pinetop Perkins Foundation, a wonderful nonprofit supporting young people at the beginning of their musical career, and providing care and safety for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.
October 9: Fondren Bottle Tree & Garden Tour (Jackson, MS)
Okay this isn't Delta, but it's SO! COOL! The Gestalt Gardener Felder Rushing is giving public tours of his own garden for the first time ever -- as are a dozen neighbors in Fondren. If you love gardening, this is one of Mississippi's best new events this year.
October 10-16: Paint the Town Clarksdale (Clarksdale, MS)
Over a half-dozen artists will be painting murals downtown -- and invite you to join them! Come watch, or even ask nicely and you might be able to pick up a paint brush and join them.
October 15: Memphis Brew Fest (Memphis, TN)
The biggest beer festival in the Mid-South features unlimited samples 100+ beers, seltzers, and spiked ciders from around the country. It's the same Saturday as the Deep Blues, Tennessee Williams, Tamale, and Balloon festivals, so our official #protip is that you should visit Mississippi... but do check out Brew Fest if you're flying in or out of Memphis.
October 15: Idessa Music & Arts Festival (Lonoke, AR)
Lonoke, Arkansas is a hip hidden gem, the "front porch of the Delta" just 25mins outside Little Rock. This new festival is part of its downtown revitalization. It's named for Idessa Malone, one of the first African American women in the country to own a recording label.
October 13-15: Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival (Clarksdale, MS)
This literary festival celebrates the life and work of Tennessee Williams, and honors the people and places that inspired him. This year features a dynamo lineup of Mississippi authors and historians, a screening of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at the Cutrer mansion, historic district tours, and the beloved parties and porch plays that make this festival special.
October 13-16: Deep Blues Festival (Clarksdale, MS)
One of the best alternative and outsider blues festivals, Deep Blues features music and musicians inspired by North Mississippi sounds and styles. It's now in the New Roxy, one of the coolest venues in the South. The schedule makes it possible to experience both the Tennessee Williams and Deep Blues Fest on the same day in downtown Clarksdale.
October 14-15: Delta Hot Tamale Festival (Greenville, MS)
A Greenville classic and fun-filled event that celebrates local and regional artists, musicians, and tamale makers as well as some of the South’s most influential chefs and writers. If you haven't experienced Mississippi Delta tamales yet, this is a great weekend to try!
October 14-16: Natchez Balloon Festival (Natchez, MS)
Hot-air balloons and outstanding live music have made this one of the region's biggest festivals for nearly 40 years. It's located in historic downtown Natchez in the parklike grounds of the columned Rosalie mansion, on high bluffs above the Mississippi River.
October 14-22: Yazoo County Fair (Yazoo, MS)
A classic county fair outside a picturesque Delta town. The gate admission includes all rides, but bring some extra cash for cotton candy! Stay awhile and bring your camera to the colorful and super Instagrammable Yazoo City.
October 20-22: Y'all Means All Natchez (Natchez, MS)
A LGBTQ+-friendly festival celebrating the diversity of Natchez’s community, Y'all Means All includes drag queen BINGO, a cocktail party, and a Battle of the Belles and Beaus. It raises funds for NAMI Four Rivers, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention and mental health counseling.
October 21-22: Southern Foodways Symposium (Oxford, MS)
The fall symposium features barbecue, asking questions about what barbecue is, who makes it, and how the craft is changing. It's an academic conference by the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi: advance tickets include five meals and two bites over two days.
October 22: Otherfest (Merigold, MS)
Brought to you by Keep Cleveland Boring, this year Otherfest is at the new Hey Joe's in the neighboring town of Merigold. A local favorite since 2006, it features an"other" kind of band with original, independent music from local and regional artists.
October 22: Barktoberfest (Money, MS)
The first annual Barktoberfest benefits the Leflore County Humane Society: get ready to paw-ty! Wear a costume and enjoy live music, games, a hayride, and other family fun at Tallahatchie Flats.
October 22: The Great Delta Bear Affair (Rolling Fork, MS)
Live music, food and craft booths, a Native American mound tour led by an archeologist, and lots of fun. Blues fans know Rolling Fork as the birthplace of Muddy Waters -- but it's also where Teddy Roosevelt and Holt Collier did NOT shoot a bear... giving birth to the "teddy bear."
October 27-30: Hambone Festival (Clarksdale, MS)
What began as artist Stan Street's birthday party has grown into an annual festival at Hambone Art Gallery in downtown Clarksdale. The whole community is invited to "juke up" in the streets for free, or come party inside at the gallery's "Hopeless Case" bar. Both visitors and locals love bouncing between this and Cruzn the Crossroads two blocks away.
October 29: Cruzn the Crossroads (Clarksdale, MS)
This car & truck show attracts classic, fancy, and funky automobiles (and the gear-heads who love them) from all over the mid-South. This year includes a "Trunk or Treat" at 5:30p on Friday, with family fun and the full show starting at 8a on Saturday.
October 29: Longwood Afternoon Music Fest (Natchez, MS)
A single-day festival at the beautiful and iconic Longwood home, this includes all the festival classics on one lawn: live music, food, beer, carnival games, and crafts.
October 29: Fall Festival Weekend in Vicksburg (Vicksburg, MS)
So much to do in such a great town! Saturday starts with a Spooky Sprint, followed by a Gathering of Artists, then the always-fabulous Porchfest. It's the perfect weekend to visit Mississippi's "Most Haunted House" for candlelight and ghost tours at the McRaven Home. Finish the day at The Strand theater's Rocky Horror Picture Show... and see Visit Vicksburg's calendar for the full event listing.
October 31: Bluesberry's Halloween Costume Party (Clarksdale, MS)
Bummed Halloween is on a Monday this year? Clarksdale has live blues ALL 7 nights a week -- including Mondays at the Bluesberry Cafe. They're hosting a Halloween party and it's gonna be good: come dress up and juke up with us. (And yes, we'll stream the first set Live From Clarksdale for the whole world to join!)
November and beyond...
Which are your favorite festivals? Let us know, and we'll list them here for everyone to enjoy!
Festival food is the best. Pictured here is Lindsey's Lemonade at the Neshoba County Fair.
This page is created and sponsored by US! as a service to both travelers and locals who want to explore the Delta.